Everybody needs that one friend or team member that has your back and fights your corner, Concise has many friends and no exception to that is Concise Insight.
Concise Insight is our very own socially distanced monitoring tool that provides network alerting. It is our first port of call when troubleshooting, whilst still being able to oversee and support our clients IT infrastructure. Over the last six months, we have had to learn a new way of delivering the same best-in-class service whilst still adhering to the Covid-19 advice. It has been a testing time when normally a response would be to send someone for a hands on approach.
We have had to increasingly use our unsung hero, Concise Insight to find the underlying cause, because going on site has not been an option.
Why do we use it
As an outsourced IT company that looks after numerous very complex networks, we need something that is our eyes and ears on a client’s site whilst also giving us a heads up to any issues that we would otherwise not be aware of. Concise Insight does this brilliantly along with producing with real time network topology mapping and a breakdown of network traffic so we can see where there are bottlenecks. Being able to “see” in real-time provides a huge amount of intelligence to help triage issues and support the necessary actions.
For each device on a network, it is important to understand when changes to their configuration have been made. For this, we need to regularly backup each individual device configuration. However, manual configuration backups are very time-consuming, so may only end up happening monthly, quarterly or not at all. This leaves a huge hole in any recovery or business continuity plans a business may have. With Concise Insight, configuration backups are automated. Every network device is continually polled for configuration changes and when a change is detected, a backup is automatically made, and every configuration version is archived so it can easily be compared. This version history also helps meet compliance requirements that require you to track and document all device changes.
To understand when and how device configurations have changed plays an important role in diagnosing issues with equipment.
When a problem occurs, sometimes it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack and you don’t know where to look first.
Concise Insight provides each service desk member with the information to enable them to make an informed approach to resolving problems, whether that resolution might mean we need to talk the user through re-patching a cable over the phone or needing to send one of our technical engineers to site.
Concise Insight provides....well... the insight for our skilled service desk analysts to understand, resolve, and implement a solution to the problem at large. So our clients can rest easy knowing we're on top of it.
It never sleeps and is always alert
No matter how much coffee you drink, you will not keep up with Concise Insight. It works tirelessly, 24/7, and as soon as it knows something is wrong or different it will alert us to the issue and automatically log a customer support ticket into our customer management system; notifying us and the customer by email.
Concise Insight is monitoring the network 24/7 and alerting us and the client to any issues as they are found.
How can it be used
With this kind of alerting the level and technicality of the alert could have a huge range. The alert can be drilled down to something simple like a printer has run out of toner or something major that requires immediate attention, like a server or switch going offline. Concise Insight can be used as a tool to see which PC is plugged into which switch port or if somebody is doing something on the network that perhaps, they shouldn’t be.
Alerts need to be informative and actionable. If the number of alerts being received is so many that we can’t separate the signal from the noise, then it is useless information and we might as well have no network monitoring alerts.
With Concise Insight, alerts can be customised and controlled using simple or complex nested trigger conditions, providing our team with meaningful and actionable information.
What can we use it for
Believe it or not, put together over a period of time Concise Insight can be shown to,
- increase profits by avoiding losses caused by undetected system failures,
- reduce costs by providing actual load data when buying bandwidth and hardware,
- improve performance by eliminating server performance problems and bandwidth bottlenecks
- improve efficiency, motivation and quality of work, which could be hindered through downtime and the lack of progress .
Concise Insight does a lot of proactive work behind the scenes to prevent network disruptions and unnecessary downtime. It is one of our heroes, unseen, silent and proactively getting on with things.
However, if you are not heroically putting out fires in front of people, then all the value you are providing may not be realised. So, whilst not every alert is going to warrant a call or email to the client it is still important to understand that this tool works exhaustively in the background, is fundamental to the work that we do and keeps track of the issues being solved. Concise Insight, can store network data for years and registers a complete list of all the alerts that have been resolved and addressed. With this amount of data it can be used to show the work we are doing to keep the network running smoothly and without disruption to the client.
Saving time and effort
Concise insight automates the inventory of devices on the network with information including make, model, serial number, IP address, software version etc.
Concise Insight has successfully diagnosed network loop backs, broken unmanaged switches, network bandwidth issues, Internet bandwidth issues, rogue devices on the network, IP conflicts, failed hard drives and broken RAID’s.
Why is the network slow? Who is hogging the bandwidth?
Maybe you hear that frustrating question over and over again from your users. They are complaining about a slow internet and you need to identify the root of the problem. Concise Insight helps determine how much bandwidth your devices and applications are using. Concise Insight will helps breakdown all network traffic into groups to highlight the culprit.
Concise Insight, the Hero
Whilst we will never eliminate the need for “eyes on site” we have dramatically reduced the need for our engineers to be on the road.
Quite simply Concise Insight is our front line key worker and being one step ahead really does make the difference between disaster and recovery.
- A proactive approach to problem solving is central to supporting clients 24/7.
- Network monitoring provides the "eyes on site" at all times during any kind of situation.
- Investment, design and maintenance of tools are fundamental to providing a best-in-class support experience quickly and efficiently.
Chris Kettle is a 2nd Line Support Analyst with six and a half years experience at Concise.